Anticipation mounted in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Holiday decorations were up at our home in NOLA, holiday parties and tapering work schedules left us constantly antsy, and preparation for the long drive home to the Midwest had us practically crawling out of our skin. There were moms, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins and friends waiting for our arrival, and it seemed we couldn't get here fast enough.
It's hard to believe it's almost over, just like that. While we have New Year's in the tropics to look forward to, I know that I'll be spending the next 18 hours in the car daydreaming of the week we spent at home...
+The drive up North was especailly comfortabe; our routine ran like clockwork and we made it to Chicago in one piece.
+The pups have loved the change in climate and endless waves of attention from relatives.
+The crisp air was a welcome treat for me as well, wandering around our folks' neighborhoods, creating new running routes.
+Kalamazoo revealed a new charm as Meg and Max took us on a tour of 4 new breweries.
+Time spent with parents and sisters was the best of all. Though, it never seems to be long enough and I always leave with a sharp sting of lonliness. It's the downside of this long distance relationship, I suppose. Bright side: it's not forever!
[Crack of dawn, Southern tip of Illinois...Apple is ready for the last leg of the trip to Grandma & Grandpa's]
[...meanwhile, Jackson is wisely getting in some final Z's before the family madness begins]
[His first real home. Re-establishing his position in his old stomping grounds]
[In NOLA, this would be warning us to avoid parking during parades]
Then, off to Kalamazoo for sister time, QT with mom and dad, and a mini brewery tour, hosted by the Maxeys.
["Are you sure I can't come up there with you??" ]
[So gentle with his new toys]
["What do you mean, it's over?"]